Ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia© AFP
Star Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia said he is working on getting back to his attacking best after defending his Commonwealth Games title in the 65kg category here on Friday. Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang beat Canada’s Lachlan McNeil 9-2 in the final. “The fight was good, the opponent was tough too. I had injury (knee) during the Olympics. The plan was to gradually come back to my old self. I will sit with the coaches and work on the weakness that I have going forward, the world championships is my next target,” said Bajrang.
On purposely trying to attack more than what he has in the recent past, the 28-year-old said: “After injury I had said you will get to see Bajrang of 2018 and I am working on that only.” His Canadian opponent McNeil was all praise for Bajrang.
“When it comes to conditioning, he is the best in the world. I prepare especially for him but he was better on the day. He has shown me areas I still need to work on. Happy with the silver though. It has been a long time coming,” said McNeil.
On her CWG debut, young wrestler Anshu Malik had to settle for silver after a tough loss to Nigeria’s Odunayo Folasade, who defended her 57kg title.
Anshu, who turned 21 on Friday, was in tears after losing the final bout.
“I gave my all on the mat. The elbow injury I had before coming here meant I could not work enough on my upper body strength. Had I got one more month, the result of the boutt would have been different.” Anshu did not attack much in the first round, helping the Nigerian take a 4-0 lead.
“May be I could have attacked more in the first round like I did in the second round,” said the 2021 World Championships silver medallist.
“In the last few minutes I went for an all out approach. I had lost to her in Italy as well in 2020 but it was much closer this time. I came here for gold but I gave it all on the mat.”
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